Field of Science

Standardizing Triassic Stratigraphic Nomenclature in New Mexico

This is a new paper written by a group of geologists who are largely responsible for conducting much of the current geological mapping in New Mexico, and is an attempt to standardize the nomenclature used for Phanerozoic rocks especially the Triassic. Key recommendations regarding the Triassic rocks are abandonment of the Chinle as a Group and keeping it at the formation level, removal of the Dockum from the "Chinle Group" and reinstatement as the Dockum Group as traditionally used, and a suggestion where to divide strata between the Chinle and Dockum.  Consideration of the Chinle as a group and subsuming the Dockum has been controversial and never fully accepted since it was first proposed in the early 1990s. Thus, this paper suggests abandonment of much of the nomenclature proposed by Spencer Lucas and colleagues over the last couple of decades.

Cather, S. M., Zeigler, K. E., Mack, G. H., and S. A. Kelley. 2013. Toward standardization of Phanerozoic stratigraphic nomenclature in New Mexico. Rocky Mountain Geology 48:101-124. doi:10.2113/gsrocky.48.2.101
Abstract - Nomenclature for Phanerozoic strata in New Mexico has been rapidly evolving, but not all proposed changes have been widely accepted. From a perspective of geologic mapping, we evaluate some recent nomenclatural proposals for Pennsylvanian, Permian, Triassic, Jurassic, and Paleogene units. Because of the long shelf-life of geologic quadrangle maps and the desirability of minimizing nomenclatural diversity among them, we present guidelines with which we argue for a conservative approach to changes in stratigraphic nomenclature.

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